Category Archives: The Levitt Effect

Pictured above (left to right): Construction of future Levitt Pavilion Dayton (photo by Andy Snow); Groundbreaking ceremony for Falls Park West and Levitt Shell Sioux Falls on April 23, 2018.

Pictured above (left to right): Levitt Pavilion Dayton’s stage in the making (photo by Andy Snow); Groundbreaking ceremony for Falls Park West and Levitt Shell Sioux Falls on April 23, 2018 (photo by Thomas Dempster)

2018 has been a milestone year for not one, but two, future permanent Levitt venues! In less than three months, Levitt Pavilion Dayton in Ohio will launch its inaugural season of free concerts at its new, state-of-the-art outdoor music venue in downtown’s Dave Have Plaza, reinvigorating this central public space and attracting Daytonians of all walks of life. And last month, Levitt Shell Sioux Falls broke ground on its own state-of-the-art outdoor music venue in the city’s underused Falls Park West, bringing it a giant leap forward toward its projected 2019 opening in South Dakota’s largest and most diverse city.

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Community is at the heart of every Levitt concert—whether it’s at a permanent Levitt venue or one of 15 Levitt AMP concert sites across the country. As Friends of Levitt nonprofit partners and Levtitt AMP grantees curate an exciting roster of local, regional, national and international artists for their free concert lineups, they also develop meaningful partnerships with a range of community organizations, schools, nonprofits and affinity groups that play an important role in programming and enhancing the Levitt experience. By reflecting the vitality of the towns and cities they call home, Levitt venues become an extension of home itself.

Throughout each concert season, community partners bring their connections with Levitt to life and perform on Levitt stages! These performances have given, and continue to give, music-loving Levitteers a chance to see their respective community’s diverse cultures, history and talents reflected on stage. From local youth ensembles to vibrant dance troupes and more, read on to learn how free Levitt concerts across the country are bringing their local communities into the spotlight.

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Next summer, Southern raconteur Paul Thorn and his six-piece band will team up with five-time GRAMMY-winning Gospel legend, Blind Boys of Alabama, for a one-of-a-kind musical collaboration as headliners of the 2018 Levitt National Tour. Levitt audiences across the country will experience these exhilarating, soulful shows blending old-school gospel with rock, blues and country.

Taking place next June and July, the 2018 Levitt National Tour will stop in seven cities including Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Los Angeles; Memphis; and Sioux Falls, S.D. (the future home of Levitt Shell Sioux Falls). The Tour follows on the heels of the 2017 Levitt National Tour, which featured Gulf Coast Soul sensation The Suffers, and previous Levitt National Tours featuring genre-busting violin outfit Black Violin (2015) and the world-music fusion of Playing For Change (2014).

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  • "The Bridge" by Elena Colombo (2011); SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Campus, home to Levitt Pavilion SteelStacks (Bethlehem, PA)

Sounds, colors and people fill a Levitt lawn, infusing a palpable energy into an underused public space. More and more, public art—whether it’s a temporary installation, a permanent mural, or an interactive sculpture, to name a few—is becoming part of the Levitt experience across the country. Below are some of the exciting ways Levitt communities have embraced the multidimensional power of the arts in public spaces. Continue reading

We’re thrilled to announce that The Suffers, an 8-member band hailing from Houston who blend musical influences as diverse as rock, R&B, country and reggae into a dynamic sound they’ve coined “Gulf Coast Soul,” will headline the 2017 Levitt National Tour. Now in its third year and created to celebrate the collective impact of the Levitt network of music venues in communities across the country, the 2017 Levitt National Tour will stop in six Levitt cities this July and August—Los Angeles; Memphis; Arlington, Texas; Denver; Bethlehem, Pa.; and Dayton, Ohio (home to a future Levitt Pavilion). This summer’s tour will invite Levitt audiences to experience these rising stars and critical darlings, hailed for their infectious rhythm and horns section mixing seamlessly with the sultry vocals of singer Kam Franklin. Continue reading

Summer has long been synonymous with outdoor concerts across the country. A simple search for “free outdoor concerts” yields hundreds of thousands of results coast to coast. Each year brings an increasing number of opportunities to experience free, live music in outdoor settings—from single concerts centered around a specific celebration like the annual Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.; to coordinated events like Make Music Day, when dozens of U.S. cities celebrate the summer solstice through free music performances; to weekly concert series like Summerstage in parks throughout New York City and free Levitt concerts in towns and cities across America.

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Levitt Pavilion Dayton Set to Open in 2018

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Image by Robin Feld

Dayton, Ohio is a city of innovators, inventors and dreamers. As home to numerous patents and inventions, the spirit of innovation permeates its entire culture. This is evident throughout the city, including in the ongoing reimagining of its downtown. Levitt Pavilion Dayton, located in Dave Hall Plaza—an underutilized public space sitting at the southern gateway to the city’s downtown—is set to play a major role in the revitalization of Dayton’s core and make it a welcoming destination for all. Continue reading

“Levitt at the Falls” set to open in 2019

logo650The Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation is thrilled to announce that Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be home to a new permanent Levitt venue, presenting 50 free concerts every year featuring a diverse range of emerging and acclaimed talent. Set to open in 2019, Levitt Shell Sioux Falls will be located within the city’s beautiful and historic namesake, Falls Park, and will be known locally as “Levitt at the Falls.” This new venue will be part of the national network of permanent outdoor Levitt music venues with locations in Arlington, Texas; Bethlehem, Pa.; Denver, Colo. (opening in 2017); Houston (opening in 2018); Los Angeles; Memphis; Pasadena, Calif.; and Westport, Conn.

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Change embodies creative placemaking focus for Foundation

Last month, we announced some exciting news—the work of our national nonprofit, Levitt Pavilions, will be carried out by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation going forward, furthering our mission to strengthen communities across the country through free, live music.

Since 2005, the Levitt Foundation has awarded more than $20 million to its nonprofit partners and grantees to support free concerts in communities large and small. As Liz Levitt Hirsch, president of the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, explained, “This exciting change signals our resolve to direct the majority of the Foundation’s philanthropy towards creative placemaking programs that focus on free concerts in public spaces. With funding now geared to one main cause, it made sense to place the operations of our national organization under one roof and to function as the Levitt Foundation, thus sunsetting Levitt Pavilions.” Continue reading

What a difference a year can make! During the past year we’ve watched 10 Levitt AMP sites come to life—transforming underused public spaces into vibrant, music-filled community hubs. With the inaugural Levitt AMP Music Series coming to a close this week, we’re celebrating some of the many ways this free, community-driven outdoor music series has impacted the 2015 Levitt AMP grantees’ hometowns.

Public voting now open!Although the first Levitt AMP chapter is about to conclude, the next is already underway! The application period for the 2016 Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards has just ended and the applicant pool has nearly doubled from 2015.

Which brings us to some fantastic news! Recognizing our nation’s growing need to come together as communities, we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve expanded Levitt AMP to 15 grants to be awarded across the country in 2016! That’s right, 15!

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